The Darkness Review

Posted: May 19, 2016 in Horror, Reviews, Thriller
Tags: , , ,

The DarknessMom’s an alcoholic. Dad’s an adulterer. Sis is bulimic. And little brother is autistic.

Meet the Taylors!

If only it were a comedy, but, alas, those are the tormented members of the family in director Greg Mclean’s career altering mess of a would-be horror movie, The Darkness. Aficionados of the shock-and-slash genre will remember Mclean’s previous work in Wolf Creek and Wolf Creek 2 with respect and affection. In Mick Taylor, the sadistic killer/torturer of the Australian Outback, Mclean created an iconic monster that terrorized foreign backpackers who were unfortunate enough to cross his path. Throw another European on the barbie, mate!

It seemed only a matter of time before Mclean would leave his native Oz for the U.S. and major studio backing. The hope was that he would rise above the James Wan-mediocre mainstream horror and bring the nasty to his maiden Hollywood effort. No such luck. The Darkness is terrible and not entertainingly so. The film is derivative in concept, but vacuous in execution. The threat is nebulous; there is a distinct lack of empathy with the victims; and there is an exclusive reliance on screeching string instruments to generate any jolts.

And no one dies. Seriously – Disney movies are rougher viewing than this.

Kevin Bacon must have lost a bet to end up with the lead here. He plays the Dad, who works for an inexplicably present Paul Reiser. No reason whatsoever for Reiser to be in The Darkness, but there he is nonetheless. Except he’s not there the whole time. In the opening sequence, when Bacon takes the family on a camping trip to the Grand Canyon, and which, for continuity’s sake, one might reasonably expect Reiser and his wife to be along since they provide a vital component of the ultimate solution to the problem that is contracted on the trip, he’s nowhere to be found. A completely different couple are along for the trip, only to exit stage left immediately thereafter.

It’s indicative of a sloppiness seen throughout the film. Characters and plot lines are introduced, then forgotten, then clumsily brought in again at awkward times. The story – and stop me if you’ve heard this one before, and, trust me, you have – is that an ancient Native American burial ground is disturbed, thereby pissing off certain badass Native American spirits. How badass? Get this – they leave dirty handprints all over clean walls! And they don’t care who knows about it!

But there is breaking medical news that comes through in The Darkness. For all those concerned about whether vaccines cause autism, your worries are misplaced. It turns out that it’s poltergeists that have the direct linkage to autism. Not to worry because the film is really too awful to even be offensive.

Where Mclean went so wrong is the lingering question hanging over this project. His likely penance is a return to Australia for Wolf Creek 3. It is difficult to believe that anyone will trust him in the chair for anything else after this debacle.


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